(The AEGIS Alliance) – The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Walmart for fueling the nationwide opioid crisis. The department accuses Walmart of ordering its stores to sell suspicious opioids as powerful painkillers.
The civil complaint alleges that Walmart’s pharmacies contributed to the opioid crisis by filling opioid prescriptions. In addition, it claims that Walmart took advantage of the situation by distributing illegal controlled substances.
According to the Justice Department, Walmart contravened federal law by selling controlled substances. The law states that Walmart should have spotted the suspicious controlled products and reports them to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In regard to the 160- page suit, Walmart made it difficult for its pharmacists to comply with the rules by putting “loads of pressure” on them to fill plenty of prescriptions as fast as possible while denying them the mandate to refuse to fill prescriptions issued by the prescribers. In other words, the pharmacists continued to issue invalid prescriptions.
Further, the suit highlights the primary problem for the whole matter is Walmart’s compliance department. It claims that the department oversaw the distribution of controlled prescriptions. In regard to the suit even after the pharmacists informed the unit about “pill-mill” prescribers’ mischievous practices, the company continued to issue invalid prescriptions.
Through an emailed statement, Walmart responded by stating that the Justice Department’s complaint “violates historical ethics.” Also, Walmart says that the suit comes up with a legal theory that allows pharmacists to come between the doctors and their patients. And also the company states that the suit is full of factual inaccuracies.
Walmart went further ahead to say that its pharmacists are allowed to decline to fill suspicious opioids prescriptions, and they have refused lots of them previously. In addition, it stated that on many occasions it has sent the Drug Enforcement Administrative to the investigative leads. And also, it has blocked lots of questionable doctors from filling their opioids in its facilities.
According to a corporate blog published Tuesday evening, Walmart asserts that multiple medical groups, health regulators, patients, and doctors have fiercely criticized the company for being mean when it comes to filling opioid prescriptions. The blog states that other critics even say that Walmart inappropriately interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.
In its defense, the company filed a preemptive suit against Attorney General William Barr, Justice Department, and Drug Enforcement Administration about two months ago.
In the suit, the company argues that the Justice Department’s investigation that was launched in 2016 had found that the pharmacists who filled the suspicious prescription ought not to have filled. In other words, it was the error of the doctors who filled the prescriptions but not the company. As per Walmart’s suit, 70% of the doctors that filled the suspicious prescription are still registered with the DEA.
The company argues that the government should not shift the blame instead it should address its failure to identify and disqualify the wrong doctors. The wrong doctors mean those who filled the suspicious prescriptions. They argue that if the doctors were professional as they are supposed to be, the illegal opioids could not find themselves in the market. And also the doctors cannot argue that pressure and orders from above made them ignore their responsibility.
The company urges the federal judge to disqualify the government suit in the pretext that the suit lacks legal stamina to seek civil damages. The retailer states that if the government’s enforcements and policies were adequate, the crisis could have been mitigated at the inception. But because of the laxity of the policies and continuous registration of unqualified doctors, the messy happened. The suit is still ongoing.
According to the case’s initial investigations that were published in March, it was reported that the then U.S attorney for Eastern District Of Texas office, Joe Brown, who spent some years in pursuing the case against the retailer’s opioid prescription practices, stalled the progress of the case when the company’s lawyers appealed to the Justice Department’s senior officials.
This is because, after two months of the appeal, Brown resigned. He did not provide a specific reason for his resignation. He only said that he would venture into the private and public sectors opportunities. At the moment, Brown is working in the private sector in Dallas.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.